Richard M. Mosk Christopher Commission records
Finding aid prepared by Jacqueline Morin
USC Libraries Special Collections
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189
Title: Richard M. Mosk Christopher Commission records
Collection number: 0395
USC Libraries Special Collections
Language of Material:
1.0 linear ft.
1 banker's box
Chaired by attorney Warren Christopher, the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department was formed in the
wake of the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King by several LAPD officers. The collection consists of files kept by Richard
M. Mosk in his capacity as a member of the Commission.
Mosk, Richard M.
[Box/folder# or item name], Richard M. Mosk Christopher Commission records, Collection no. 0395, Regional History Collection,
Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Conditions Governing Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.
On March 3, 1991, an American construction worker named Rodney King was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers after
leading them through the San Fernando Valley on a high-speed car chase. A bystander, George Holliday, witnessed the beating
and videotaped much of the incident from a distance.
Footage from Holliday's videotape showed a group of uniformed officers surrounding King while several of them struck him repeatedly
with their batons. A large group of officers watched the incident without taking any noticeable action to stop it. When a
portion of the videotaped footage was televised in Los Angeles, then by news agencies around the world, the ensuing public
outrage increased tension between the local black community and the LAPD.
The public demand for evaluation and reform of police procedures involving the use of force resulted in the formation of two
citizens' commissions--one created by Mayor Tom Bradley and one created by Chief of Police Daryl Gates. To avoid overlap,
the two commissions subsequently merged to form the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, informally
known as the Christopher Commission. The 10-member Commission, chaired by Warren Christopher, sought to examine all aspects
of the law enforcement structure in Los Angeles that might cause or contribute to the problem of excessive force, including:
- the apparent failure to control or discipline officers with repeated complaints of excessive force
- concerns about the LAPD's "culture" and officers' attitudes toward racial and other minorities
- the difficulties the public encounters in attempting to make complaints against LAPD officers
- the role of the LAPD leadership and civilian oversight authorities in addressing or contributing to these problems.
At the conclusion of its investigation, the Commission synthesized its findings into a 228-page "Report of the Independent
Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department." Many of the problems identified by the Commission were attributed to the
LAPD's management and administration practices led by Chief of Police Daryl Gates. The Commission published its report in
July 1991, three months after the investigation was formally launched.
Scope and Content
The collection includes police commission correspondence, status reports and final reports of the Independent Commission,
testimony transcripts, a transcript of messages from the LAPD Mobile Digital Terminal System, and the transcript of an oral
history of Mosk.
Related Archival Materials
Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department records (Collection 229) is held in Special Collections at the
University of Southern California Libraries.
The National Archives holds the Richard M. Mosk papers, a small collection regarding the proceedings of the Warren Commission.
Mosk was a member of the staff of the Warren Commission's President Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Richard M. Mosk has been an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five
since 2001 when he was appointed by Gray Davis.
Mosk was born in Los Angeles in 1939, the son of Stanley Mosk, a former California Attorney General and state Supreme Court
justice. A graduate of both Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Richard Mosk served as a California Supreme Court
law clerk and later was appointed to the staff of the Warren Commission (President's Commission on the Assassination of President
John F. Kennedy). From 1981 to 1984, Mosk served as the U.S. appointed judge on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, which
was established as part of the settlement of the Iranian hostage crisis. Subsequently, he served as a substitute judge on
that Tribunal from 1984 to 1997. In 1997, he was reappointed to that Tribunal and served until 2001 when he was appointed
to his current position on the California Court of Appeal.
In 1991, Mosk served as a member of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, also known as the Christopher
Commission. The Commission was formed to investigate the L.A.P.D. shortly after the highly publicized beating of motorist
Between 1994 and 2000, Mosk served as both Chair and Co-Chair of the Motion Picture Classification and Rating Administration
(of the Motion Picture Association of America) that provides the parental ratings for motion pictures.
Justice Mosk has practiced law in Los Angeles, tried both civil and criminal cases, and argued cases before the California
and United States Supreme Courts. He has taught law at the University of Southern California Law Center and the T.C. Beirne
School of Law at Queensland University in Australia. In addition, he has lectured at many law schools in the United States,
Europe, and Asia. For the past several years, he has taught a freshman seminar at USC.
Donated by Richard M. Mosk.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Briseno, Theodore J. -- Archives
Gates, Daryl F., 1926-2010 -- Archives
Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Dept. (Los Angeles, Calif.). -- Archives
King, Rodney, 1965-2012 -- Archives
Koon, Stacey C., 1950- -- Archives
Los Angeles (Calif.). Police Dept. -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Mosk, Richard M. -- Archives
Powell, Laurence -- Archives
Wind, Timothy E. -- Archives
Police brutality--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Police misconduct--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Police--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century--Archival resources
Police-community relations--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century--Archival resources
Racism--United States--History--20th century--Archival resources
Trials (Police misconduct)--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Box 1, Folder 1
Police Commission Correspondence: Vol.1, Pt.1
Box 1, Folder 2
Police Commission Correspondence: Vol.1, Pt.2 (1 of 2)
Box 1, Folder 3
Police Commission Correspondence: Vol.1, Pt.2 (2 of 2)
Box 1, Folder 4
Police Commission Correspondence: Vol.2
June 1991 - September 1995
Box 1, Folder 5
Letter to Richard M. Mosk from Warren Christopher
31 July 1991
Box 1, Folder 6
Los Angeles Times Poll
Box 1, Folder 7
Misc. Reports, Articles, and Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 8
Town Hall of California
Box 1, Folder 9
Chronology of Implementation of Recommendations by the Independent Commission on the LAPD
14 October 1991
Box 1, Folder 10
L.A. County Sheriff's Department Executive Planning Council Response to Sheriff Sherman Block on the Christopher Commission
6 September 1991
Box 1, Folder 11
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: A Report by Special Counsel James G. Kolts & Staff
Box 1, Folder 12
Transcripts of testimony before the Independent Commission
Box 1, Folder 13
Selected messages from the LAPD Mobile Digital Terminal System
1 November 1989 - 4 March 1991
Box 1, Folder 14
Report of the Rampart Independent Review Panel
Box 1, Folder 15
Report of the Independent Commission: Summary of Report (unpublished)
Box 1, Folder 16
Status Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department
Box 1, Folder 17
Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department
9 July 1991
Box 1, Folder 18
Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department: Summary (published)
9 July 1991
Box 1, Folder 19
Implementation Status Report from Daryl F. Gates to Board of Police Commissioners
31 December 1991
Box 1, Folder 20
The Honorable Robert C. Bonner
14 January 2001
Box 1, Folder 21
Honorable Richard M. Mosk: An Oral History
Scope and Content
This folder contains the 104-page transcript of an oral history by Richard M. Mosk, as told to Matthew Mosk. The oral history
was done as part of the California Appellate Court Legacy Project